Local News Articles

Landfill Running Out of Space, County Looking at Going to Transfer Station

January 29, 2013
Dwayne Page
Overton County Recycling Center (Photo by David McDowell)
Inside Transfer Station (Notice Open Top Semi Truck Trailer to Right)
Overton County Baler for Recycling (Photo by David McDowell)
Overton County Baled Cardboard (Photo by David McDowell)

The DeKalb County Landfill may be out of space within a year but instead of searching for a new site the county is looking to develop a solid waste transfer station.

During Monday night's meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster told the county commission that its time to make a decision. "We really need to put this in high gear because the cell we have right now is filling up pretty fast. We thought it was going to be a good year (before landfill is out of space), but it now looks like eight to ten months," said Foster. "Part of the reason is because our compactor burned and we're not getting the compaction that we were. Our new compactor, which is not really new. It's rebuilt. It should be here in about two weeks. When we get that compactor in, what I'd like to do is dig part of that up and pack it back in which should give us much better compaction than we have been getting and maybe gain us that four months back," said Foster.

Under a transfer station operation, household garbage would continue to be collected at local convenience centers across the county, then loaded onto trucks and brought to the transfer station, where the garbage would be separated from recyclables and then loaded onto semi trucks and transferred to a landfill site in another county. DeKalb would contract for the garbage to be hauled out of county and for the disposal of it at a certain price per ton. The recyclables would be baled and sold.

Should the county develop a transfer station, Foster said the county could keep a Class III-IV landfill for disposal of non-household garbage, such as construction materials. "We would probably want to keep a Class III-IV cell for construction materials. We could use the property we have over there (current landfill site) for the Class III-IV or CD which is for non-household garbage. We wouldn't have to build an expensive cell with a rubber liner for it. This would just be lined with clay. It would only be for construction debris, mattresses, and things of that sort. If we go to having a transfer station, we would then probably be able to go into a really good recycling situation where we would try to recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, and metals," he said.

Convenience sites would still be required throughout the county and residents could continue to bring their household garbage there or directly to the transfer station. "You bring it (household garbage) into a transfer station. Dump it out. You have people there that pull out the cardboard, the metal, the plastics, and some of the things that you can recycle and then you dump the household garbage into a semi truck. You pull the recyclables out and put them in boxes and take them to another shed and bale them into bales of about 1300 pounds apiece. Meanwhile the garbage you put in that semi truck, you pay some landfill to take it and dispose of it that way you don't have to have a Class I landfill. So its hauled and disposed of, then you bale your recyclables and put them into a storage shed until you get enough for a load or two and sell them to some agency or company that buys it (recyclables)," said Foster.

According to Foster, DeKalb County would have fewer environmental worries about solid waste, if it had its own transfer station "It probably won't be any cheaper but it will get us out of the environmental liability that we're in. It gets worse every time you build a cell. Use to, you put a two foot clay liner under it. It (regulations) went from a two foot to a five foot clay liner. Then you added another layer with a 60 mil membrane there. Then you had to put two feet of crushed rock on top of that. It (regulations) just keeps getting worse. Now, we've got to go back in the cell we're in and put a rubber cap on that on the entire five to seven acres. That's an expensive proposition," said Foster.

In the fall of 2011, Foster and members of the county commission visited Overton County's solid waste transfer station (See photos above). Foster said Monday night he would also like to see the Crossville operation. "I will try to have some information back from an engineer by next month. I've got a copy of a couple of transfer station blueprints. But I'd like for us to go see the one at Crossville and then figure out what we want to do," said Foster.

DeKalb County Has Over 1,600 Handgun Permit Holders

January 29, 2013
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

More DeKalb Countians are choosing to obtain a valid handgun carry permit.

According to the latest available records kept by the state, DeKalb County had a total of 1,661 handgun permit holders as of January 3, 2013. That's up by 340 within the last three years. There were 1,587 permit holders as of March 10, 2012; 1,462 on January 1st, 2011; and 1,321 on January 1st, 2010.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, who is also an authorized state handgun permit class instructor, told WJLE that a lot of people are obtaining a handgun carry permit to make them feel more safe and secure. "A lot of people are concerned about protecting themselves now, especially in their homes. A lot of people are also concerned about taking the training, learning how to operate a weapon and to be comfortable with it. We get a lot of people who want to take the class just for the safety aspect of it."

Caplinger said he has been teaching the class since his days with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "I teach the state authorized handgun permit class for anyone interested in obtaining a Tennessee handgun permit. I started teaching these classes in 1996 and continued to teach during my career with the Tennessee Department of Safety. After I retired with the THP, I continued teaching the classes."

Handgun carry applicants must be at least 21 years of age and meet other conditions, according to Caplinger. "You cannot be a convicted felon. If you're being treated for any type of drug or alcohol abuse; if you're under any type of restraining order or other court order; or if you've been convicted of any type of spousal abuse, stalking, or sex crime it can and will keep you from getting a handgun carry permit. If you've had one DUI within five years or two DUI's within ten years it can keep you from getting your handgun permit. If you're being treated for any type of mental disorder or if you're under any type of mental treatment you're not allowed to apply for a handgun carry permit," said Caplinger.

In order to obtain a valid handgun carry permit, Caplinger said you must complete a training course. "The first thing you have to do if you're interested in obtaining a handgun carry permit in Tennessee is to attend one of the authorized classes at a school that is certified with the State of Tennessee Department of Safety handgun permit course. You can take up to an eight hour class, depending upon the instructor. Usually it's a one day class which starts with classroom training following a certain curriculum that the state requires to make everyone aware of where they can and can't carry the gun. The course then goes into the safety part on how to operate and carry the weapon. The class covers several different aspects. After the classroom part is completed, you go to the firing range and fire the weapon. After completing the course, you must apply for the Tennessee handgun permit. Just because you attend the school does not automatically grant you a permit. It only gives you the right to apply for the permit because you have had the mandatory training by taking the course," said Caplinger

"Once you successfully complete the course, you're given a certificate that you are to carry to any full service drivers license station in Tennessee. The ones closest to Smithville are in Cookeville, McMinnville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro. You must present your handgun certificate, your certified birth certificate or valid passport and $115 before being able to make application for your permit. If your birth certificate is not certified, they will turn you down. You must present a certified birth certificate," said Caplinger.

If you don't have a copy of your birth certificate, Caplinger said you can obtain a copy at the health department. "You can go to your local health department and have a copy of your birth certificate printed. It will be certified. I think the charge is either seven or eight dollars. You can go on-line to the department of health in Nashville and order a copy of your birth certificate on-line with a credit or debit card or you can call the department of health by phone and use a debit or credit card and obtain it that way. It will be sent to you in the mail," said Caplinger.

Once you obtain your handgun carry permit, Caplinger said its valid for four years before renewal. "Some people get confused because their drivers license are valid for five years. They (drivers licenses) expire on your birthday. Your gun permit expires on the date it was issued, which might not necessarily be close to your birthday. You will receive a notice in the mail to renew your gun permit. You're never retested again. The only thing is you'll have to go through a background check. The Department of Safety issues the background check to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."

"Your permit renewal application is sent out four months prior to it expiring, "said Caplinger. "Once the Department of Safety sends out that notice, they enter your name with the TBI and the TBI will start a background check Once the background check is completed, if there's nothing on your record to hold it up or any questions that arise, you will receive your notice in the mail. You can then send it into the state because it's already been approved. That's something new that the Department of Safety has started and its working. Two years ago if you renewed your handgun carry license, you were lucky to get it back within ninety days. Most people had to get an extension. Today, if a renewal goes through with no problems and everything is approved, you're probably going to get it back within twenty days even though the Department of Safety tells us to tell everyone it will be ninety days," said Caplinger.

Should you let your handgun carry permit expire, Caplinger said you have a six month grace period before having to retake the course. "If you wait beyond that six month grace period you have to go through that complete course and everything again. Once you get your permit for the first time and you keep it valid, your permit is good for four years. At the end of four years you never have to pay the $115 again but you have to pay $50 for the renewal fee every four years for the remainder of the time you keep the gun permit but you never have to go through the class again," said Caplinger.

While Tennessee does not have a concealed carry law, Caplinger said he urges his students to be cautious about displaying their handguns. "By law, if you obtain your handgun carry permit you are legally allowed to carry your weapon in public if you wish. Some do. Some don't. Instructors have different opinions. I do not recommend that anyone carry their handgun out in the open but it's still up to the individual who has the permit."

Caplinger adds that there are several places where a handgun is prohibited. "A good way to remember is that if you're in or on any city, county, state, or federal property, building, school, or at any type of judicial proceeding, carrying a handgun is off limits. You are also prohibited from carrying a handgun into a restaurant that sells alcohol or a bar if you're going to be drinking."

Many people opposed to handgun carry laws have expressed concerns about more people in public with weapons, but Caplinger said it hasn't been a problem here. "We don't have a problem with most people (with handgun carry permits) because they've had the training. They understand what they can and can't do. Most people understand that if a problem arises and they misuse that permit or that weapon, they can lose that permit just as easy as they got it. These people are good, everyday citizens that can pass the background checks. We've really had no problem with them. It was a concern when it started in 1996 (when handgun permits were first issued) but law enforcement understands that the people with these permits have had the training and know what should happen and what can happen, and how to handle a gun. It hasn't been a problem," concluded Caplinger.

For more information visit http://www.tn.gov/safety/handgunmain.shtml

Inmate Found with Prohibited Weapon

January 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Morris Edward Knowles
John Michael Turner
Brandon Lynn Tallent
Shelly Renae Newby
Sergio Sanchez

An inmate was found with a prohibited weapon inside the jail last week.

43 year old Morris Edward Knowles of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with possession of a prohibited weapon inside a penal institution. He is an inmate at the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court January 31.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, January 23 Morris had a weapon made from a razor handle and a nail. The item could have been used to stab someone. It was found inside Knowles' sock, while he was being patted down before a shakedown.

44 year old John Michael Turner of East Main Street, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and disorderly conduct. He was further issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). His bond totals $7,500 and he will be in court on February 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, January 23 the sheriff's office received a call that someone had been blowing their car horn for some time on A.B. Frazier Road. Upon arrival, the officer found Turner's vehicle in a ditch. Turner was present and his keys were in the ignition. Turner had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Turner refused to submit to a field sobriety task because he was too unsteady. Turner was declared an habitual offender on December 5, 1996 in DeKalb County. He was placed under arrest and brought to the jail for booking. Turner did submit to a blood test but at the hospital he initially began cussing and became very loud and disorderly, refusing to do what the officer asked him to do. Turner allegedly made threatening gestures toward personnel checking him into the hospital.

28 year old Brandon Lynn Tallent of West Main Street, Smithville and 20 year old Shelly Renae Newby of Anthony, Avenue Smithville are each charged with theft of property under $500 and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each totals $21,500 and they will be in court on February 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 19 Tallent and Newby allegedly took three tractor trailer starters and a cast iron intake from property on the Old Snow Hill Road. The items are valued at more than $1,000. Newby admitted to an officer that she and Tallent had taken items from this property on several occasions.

The next day on Sunday, January 20, Tallent and Newby allegedly took two trailers and small gasoline engines from the same property on the Old Snow Hill Road. These items are valued at more than $1,000. Newby admitted to an officer that she and Tallent had taken these items.

Meanwhile on Friday, January 25, Tallent and Newby went back to the same location and allegedly took val covers, a gas tank, an intake, and struts. These items are valued at less than $500. They were found in the back of Tallent's vehicle after an officer pulled him over on a traffic stop. Newby admitted to the officer that she and Tallent had taken these items.

40 year old Sergio Sanchez of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on February 14. He was also issued citations for no valid drivers license, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), improper backing, and violation of the implied consent law.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 26, Sanchez was involved in a two vehicle crash in the parking lot of Handle Bars II on Sparta Highway. The investigating officer found that Sanchez had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his eyes were blood shot. He was unsteady on his feet. Saying he was too drunk, Sanchez refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and blood tests. He was placed under arrest and brought to the jail for booking.

County Commission to Discuss Extended Hours for Beer Sales

January 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
County officials receive complaints about excessive noise from Chabelita's

The DeKalb County Commission may soon decide whether or not to authorize Sunday beer sales or to make it 24-7, the same as the City of Smithville has done for businesses licensed to sell packaged beer.

During an informal county commission meeting Thursday night, in what is called an all-committees session, local businessman Jewel Redmon, owner of Jewel's Market and Pizza on North Congress Boulevard asked that stores be allowed to sell beer on Sunday. "I would like the county commission to consider letting us sell beer on Sunday," said Redman. "Eighty five percent of the places (licensed stores) in DeKalb County sell beer on Sunday now anyway. We would just like to have the same opportunity to compete with our competition. I don't care about all the hours. We just need, say til twelve o'clock in the morning and Sundays. Being 24 (hours) I really don't care about that," said Redmon.

"We would like to have it the same as it is in the city" said Roger Sharp, owner of Sharp Lodge on Cookeville Highway near Silver Point.

Local minister Bernard Houk asked the county commission not to extend the hours for beer sales. Houk said this issue is personal with him because he has seen how that alcohol has destroyed lives. He urged the commissioners to think about what's best for people rather than somebody's wallet.

Although the issue is on the agenda, the county commission is not expected to make a decision Monday night. County Mayor Mike Foster suggested Thursday night that a public hearing be scheduled at some point to give citizens a chance to express their views. County officials may also want to take some time to see how the changes made in the city are working out.

Meanwhile, County Mayor Foster said he has received complaints about loud noise coming from a business (Chabelita's Sports Bar and Grill) on the Short Mountain Highway late at night on weekends. "I've probably had ten phone calls about it and I know the sheriff has had some about it. I got a call Monday that they were going til two o'clock Sunday morning. The noise was so loud that they couldn't sleep. I think we need to put a clause in whatever we do to address these type things because that's in a residential neighborhood. I think they've got to use some common sense or lose their license. I'd be the first one to recommend that," said Foster.

"They tell me you (sheriff) get calls on the weekends to go out there about the noise," said Foster

"Every weekend, probably three times a night," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.

" I probably get three calls a week. It needs to be shut down. I'm for locking the doors or pulling their permit," added Foster.

Some suggested that the county beer board be made aware of the complaints.

Chabelita's Sports Bar and Grill has an on premises consumption permit to sell beer

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 7.3% in December

January 26, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for December was 7.3%, up from 6.9% in November but below the 7.9% rate in December 2011.

The local labor force for December 2012 was 9,600. A total of 8,890 were employed and 700 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was fourth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland Region.
Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest:
Pickett County: 12.7%
Van Buren County: 11.2%
White County: 11%
Clay County: 10%
Jackson County: 9.6%
Fentress County: 9.2%
Cumberland County: 9.2%
Warren County: 8.4%
Smith County: 7.5%
Overton County: 7.4%
DeKalb County: 7.3%
Putnam County: 7.1%
Macon County: 7%
Cannon County: 5.9%

County unemployment rates for December 2012 show the rate decreased in two counties and increased in 93 primarily due to normal seasonal employment declines. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and reflect seasonal employment changes from month to month.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for December remained constant from the November revised rate of 7.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for December 2012 was 7.8 percent, also unchanged from the previous month.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.7 percent, up from 5.2 percent in November. Davidson County was 6.2 percent, up from 5.7 percent. Hamilton County was 7.2 percent, up from 6.4 percent, and Shelby County was 8.7 percent, up from 7.8 percent in November.

Hurricane Bridge Nearing Completion

January 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
Paul Degges (Standing left) addresses county mayor and commission
Construction Crew at work on Hurricane Bridge Monday January 28

The Hurricane Bridge construction project is nearing completion.

Paul Degges, Chief Engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, in a meeting with County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission Thursday night, said the project is ahead of schedule and could be finished by May. "We are running considerably ahead of schedule on that project," said Degges. "We anticipate being able to open that to traffic probably by the first of May. If we have good weather this winter we might even beat that. You might recall our original completion estimate was October of this year so we are significantly ahead of schedule," said Degges.

During an interview with WJLE in August, Degges described the work being done on Hurricane Bridge."That bridge was built during World War II and it had some pretty lite structural members. One of the things we've been going through on the project is to make sure it can handle traffic for the next fifty years or so. We're going in and looking at every single member of the truss. Some of those metal components underneath the deck are in tension and some are in compression. So we're doing an analysis on all those to make sure that we replace the ones that need to be replaced. This is an older bridge. It has a lite weight construction so we're also using a lite weight concrete on it. The concrete deck on this bridge weighs about twenty percent less than concrete we use in typical applications. I think motorists will notice that the bridge rail on the bridge looks a little different. It's metal instead of concrete. It's just as strong but it's a little bit lighter than concrete. We're going to take about two feet off the shoulders. While we'll still have the same width twelve foot travel lanes, the shoulders are going to be a little bit narrower than they were before the project. What we're trying to do is be able to put this bridge back in service and get another fifty years out of it," said Degges.

In October, 2010 TDOT awarded the bid to OCCI Incorporated at $26.9 million. The contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project. Modjeski and Masters is the consulting firm.

New Sligo Bridge to be Under Construction By Summer

January 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sligo Bridge

After months of delay, the new Sligo bridge is expected to be under construction by this summer.

During a meeting with County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission Thursday night, Paul Degges, Chief Engineer of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said bids will likely be opened in April or May with construction to begin soon after.

Before TDOT could begin with the project, it had to work out a deal on right of way acquisition with the only landowner in the area, being the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The problem was that owners of Sligo Marina, who have a lease with the Corps were concerned that the bridge construction would adversely affect their business. The marina owners wanted the state to pay for potential loss of business to them during the construction of the bridge. But Degges, in previous forums, had said that the state cannot legally pay for those types of damages. Over time, TDOT re-designed plans for the bridge hoping to address concerns to the satisfaction of Sligo Marina, but to no avail. So, the state came up with another alternative. To build the bridge from the river. Barges will be assembled on the river for the cranes and other equipment needed in construction. "Our original design had some pretty significant impacts to the parking lot of the marina," said Degges. " In working with the Corps of Engineers and the marina, we tried to come up with a design that we felt was a good design that worked for us and worked for the marina. The marina (owners) ultimately were not satisfied with our design so we went back again and tried to re-design the project to come up with a different type of design that would work. Ultimately, we never really could satisfy the marina so we backed up and looked at it again. We brought in a lot of contractors and did a constructability review so now we have come up with a way to build the bridge from the water and from the roadway so we're not going to have to be off our reservation so to speak with the bridge," said Degges.

The project will be more costly to build the bridge from the river, according to Degges but the marina will not be impacted in this manner. The project will let for bids this spring and be under construction by summer and should be finished within twenty four to thirty months. "For the most part we're going to be building the bridge from the river. It is going to run our costs up but we believe we have the resources available to deliver it," said Degges. "We're still finalizing our real estate agreement with the Corps of Engineers that allows us to get all of our permits but we anticipate being able to open bids probably in the April to May time frame and be under construction this summer. It will probably be twenty four to thirty months of construction to get the new bridge in place but the existing roads will be open to traffic during that time. Certainly there will be some construction delays through there but we won't have a traffic signal. As far as construction impacts, there will still be access to the marina during construction and there will still be access across the bridge. It will be posted. Its at 22 tons right now and we hope to be able to keep it at that weight posting. I don't see anything happening that's going to have us change that," he said.

Degges said it is important that the TDOT proceed with no further delays because of the deterioration of the bridge. "Old bridges deteriorate a lot faster than newer bridges. The condition goes along pretty uniform for a number of years but when that condition (of the bridge) drops, it plummets pretty fast so that's why we made the decision to go ahead and move forward with this project," he said.

"The real issue for this project is constructability," said Degges. "The first issue here is that the water is over one hundred feet deep. These piers coming up out of the bottom of the river will be about two hundred feet tall. Building the foundation underwater in one hundred feet of water is difficult work. The steepness of the ravine going down to the river makes it very difficult as well. We have a 335 foot main span but the real issue is getting the sub-structures in place and being able to get the cranes in to be able to hang the beams, he said.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We're going to build what we call a steel plate girder bridge with a concrete deck," said Degges. "Right now, the bridge is a truss.The bridge is somewhat narrow. The new bridge we're going to put in here will have twelve foot lanes and ten foot shoulders. It will be what most people would consider a traditional bridge in that the beams of this bridge will be under the deck," he said.

The project is expected to cost over $30 million dollars. It will be funded under TDOT's Better Bridges, a four year program approved in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly that utilizes bonds to pay for the repair or replacement of more than 200 structurally deficient bridges in the state including Sligo. "We were able to come up with a new funding mechanism which we call our Better Bridges Program that allows us to utilize dollars available so we don't have to borrow money. It is a way that we use bond authorizations that allow us to let bigger projects and pay for them as they're being constructed. It keeps us from having to borrow any money but it allows us to advance pretty expensive projects," said Degges.

State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody and other TDOT officials joined Degges at the meeting Thursday night with the county commission.

Former Smithville Mayor Cecil Burger Passes Away

January 24, 2013
Dwayne Page
Cecil Burger

Former Smithville Mayor and alderman Cecil Ray Burger passed away Wednesday night at NHC Healthcare Center. He was 89 years old.

Mr. Burger served the City of Smithville for more than forty five years, including sixteen years as mayor and six years as alderman

In twenty two years, Mr. Burger never lost an election, having first been elected mayor in 1990. He served eight terms, sixteen years in that office until 2006 when he chose instead to run for alderman. He ended his long career with the city on June 30 last year when his third term as alderman came to an end. Because of his health, Mr. Burger had chosen not to seek re-election to a fourth term.

Mr. Burger began his career with the city in 1966 as secretary-treasurer, which also meant overseeing the city's public works operation and city employees. He served as city judge for the first couple of years as well. Burger retired from the secretary-treasurer position in 1989 but came out of retirement fifteen months later after being elected mayor in 1990.

During his time with the city as an employee and alderman Burger served under or with ten mayors starting with Othel Smith, John Bill Evins, Charles Gentry, Edward Frazier, Gary (Gus) Johnson, Hilton Conger, Waniford Cantrell, Dewey Love, Bruce Medley, and Taft Hendrixson.

The fifty two aldermen he served under or with as a city employee, mayor, and alderman from 1966 through 2012 include Jim O. Amonett, W.H. Smith, Sr., Eugene Webb, Freddy Colvert, Hobert Hendrixson, John Bill Evins, Bass Estes, Floyd Brown, Sr., Edward Frazier, Robert Alexander, Carter Braswell, Paschal Cantrell, Donnie Lewis, Alfred Parker, T.C. Atnip, Ray Johnson, Bob Smithson, Gary (Gus) Johnson, Tom Keith, Hilton Conger, Dr. Kenneth Twilla, Bill Maffett, Marsha Darah, Cordell Walker, Charles Trapp, Paul Hendrixson, Dr. Melvin Blevins, Elmus Johnson, David Redmon, Jim Eddins, Dewey Love, Bruce Medley, Elzie McBride, Charles Burchfield, Larry Wright, Jack Cantrell, Jerry Taylor, W.J. (Dub) White, Charles Olson, Bert Driver, Steve White, Paul Young, Brad Mullinax, Mark Loring, Jackie Rigsby, Aaron Meeks, Willie Thomas, Tonya Sullivan, Jerry Hutchins, Sr., Shawn Jacobs, Danny Washer, and Gayla Hendrix.

In an interview with WJLE last year, Mr. Burger said he appreciated all the support he had received during his career with the city. "The people have been good to me and I appreciate it very much. They supported me well," said Burger.

"We (city) grew a right smart while I was mayor and we tried to serve the whole city. I don't know of anything special (we did) only trying to do our work with everybody. I had a lot of good help. I appreciate my friends who have helped me out all these years. They helped me when I was mayor. I have plenty of friends. I've tried to treat them like I wanted to be treated," said Burger.

Mr. Burger was a member of the Smithville First United Methodist Church and a construction worker.

The funeral will be Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Dr. John Carpenter will officiate. Entombment will be at DeKalb Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. Visitation will be Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the service at 3:00 p.m.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Willie Sowells Burger and his wife, Wilma Jo Burger.

Survivors include four children, David and wife Kyoko Burger of Japan, Gereda Burger of Massachusetts, Pamela and husband Danny Poss of Smithville, and Anthony and wife Tammie Burger of Smithville.

Five grandchildren, Nancy Burger, Simon and wife, Emi Burger, Erica Burger, Nicole Burger, and Zach Poss. A great grandson, Braxton. A sister, Sudie Vickers of Liberty. A sister-in-law, Mildred and husband Howard Harrell of Murfreesboro.

DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. The family asks that donations be made to the Smithville First United Methodist Church, in lieu of flowers.

Three Mexican Restaurants Seek On Premises Consumption Beer Permits

January 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Los Lobos Mexican Restaurant

Patrons of three Smithville Mexican restaurants may soon be able to have beer with their meals.

El Rancho of 1101 West Broad Streeet, Mercadito Chabelita Restaurant of 408 Broad Street, and Los Lobos of 106 East Broad Street are the first to apply for an on-premises consumption permit

The Smithville Beer Board will meet on Thursday, January 31 at 6:00 p.m. on the second floor of city hall to consider granting the permit applications.

The Smithville aldermen last month changed the city's beer laws to allow eligible restaurants to have an on-premises permit.

Local Sales for Guns and Ammo Skyrocket

January 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Phillip Adcock of Belk Grocery and Sporting Goods
Tracy Caplinger and Phil Tollett at L&C Sporting Goods

The demand for firearms and ammunition has skyrocketed in recent weeks making it hard for stores to keep inventories stocked.

"I've never seen anything like it. Not in my 40 years of being in business," said Phillip Adcock, owner of Belk Grocery and Sporting Goods, who spoke with WJLE Tuesday morning. " They (customers) have overwhelmed us. I thought I was prepared for it. I'm being allocated on basically everything. We don't order now. They (manufacturers) call us and tell us what they've got and when they do you had better buy it," he said.

President Barack Obama last week called for a new and stronger assault weapons ban as well as a 10 round cap on magazines and universal background checks. The move comes in the wake of the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut which has renewed interest by some in seeking a stricter crackdown on weapons that do the most damage.

But many gun owners, fearing that legislation may go too far, are stocking up leaving retailers trying to keep up with the high demand. "We've had a mad dash for the last six or seven weeks," said Adcock. "There are probably three reasons for it. We had an anti-gun President re-elected. We had a shooting (Newtown, Connecticut) and we had Christmas all rolled into a close proximity of time. I think it just overwhelmed the market. Everybody sort of panicked. I guess due to the Christmas break the manufacturers just got overwhelmed. Its going to take a while for them to catch up," he said

Usually, customers are in the hunt for handguns this time of year, according to Adcock. But this year, they're looking for more. "I think because people are a little bit concerned because they might not be able to buy something a little later we're trying to find a lot of long guns right now for people. They are difficult to find as well. Normally in January and February people go back to handguns pretty strong but it seems like this year its just a combination of all of it. Availability of anything right now is really scarce. Even stuff that you would think normally is easy to get is real difficult right now. Its just not out there," he said.

Still, the requests for orders keep coming, even for the so called "assault rifles". "I've got a list right there by the phone. I've actually got so many requests right now we've quit writing down names and phone numbers. Probably for a week there we had one full time person answering the phone for requests for AR-15's simply because they (customers) were afraid they would not be able to get them after the (Connecticut) shooting. That demand is really overwhelming as much as anything else. If you could get a truck load today you could probably have them sold in a week's time," said Adcock.

Although prices have not really increased that much, Adcock fears some gun retailers may be taking advantage of the high demand. "There's always usually a small price increase the first of the year but a lot of the prices people are seeing now are being raised intentionally. We're seeing a lot of exaggerated prices out there. People have even put their own personal guns on the Internet and doubled the prices. They are selling just as fast as they can put them on there. Really people need to settle down because hopefully it will level off in a few weeks and we'll go back to normal," he said.

Adcock is also convinced that the voting public will hold Congress accountable on whatever gun control measures are considered. "Its still up in the air what they're going to do in Washington over this deal. We've got Congressmen and Senators that's got to come back home and be re-elected by the people. If people get the chance to speak they'll show their support for gun rights and the second amendment and what it all means. We may have a little up and down the next four years but we'll get through that and something better will happen," said Adcock.

Tracy Caplinger of L&C Sporting Goods, who is also an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor told WJLE Tuesday that the interest among people wanting to obtain a handgun carry permit has also dramatically increased. "Gun classes are really up right now. People are really wanting to get their gun permits. I'm booked for several weeks in a row right now. Its gone from one to two a month to probably up to seven classes a month. That's as high as it's ever been since I've been teaching," said Caplinger.

And like other retailers, Caplinger said L&C Sporting Goods has found guns and ammo hard to come by recently. "Everything is really hard to get right now. When it comes in its going right out. We've been here twenty years and this is by far the busiest we've ever been. Its just crazy right now. If it has anything to do with a gun they're looking for it. Pistols, long guns, ammunition, you name it. I'm getting several calls a day. You really can't find any of it right now anyway. There's a lot of talk right now (about what the government might do). Everybody is scared and buying anything they can get their hands on. I really think it will slow down before too long. If all these shootings will slow down I think it will level back out," said Caplinger.


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